Sunday, September 21, 2014   




Treading on thin ice

Mary Ma

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Year is the time for people all over the world to make resolutions and to express hopes and aspirations for the year ahead.

Hongkongers are no different in looking forward to a better tomorrow, particularly after enduring a 2012 filled with scandal after scandal.

New Year is also a time to reflect on what has been, or should have been.

While we've had our share of downs, there were also the ups - like cycling queen Lee Wai-sze winning the bronze in the women's keirin event at the London Olympics, and the successful landing by a handful of patriots on the Diaoyu Islands.

The sadder moments are too painful to recite, such as the deaths of 39 people - including children - off Lamma Island while sailing to celebrate National Day and enjoy the fireworks display. That tragedy was reminiscent of the horror of another celebration gone wrong, when 20 people died in the Lan Kwai Fong stampede in 1993 while celebrating the arrival of a new year..

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But we, along with the rest of the world, survived the December 21 "doomsday" - the end of the Mayan calendar - which turned out to be a joke.

However, it was no laughing matter that emotions were stirred over the national education row, or the parallel goods saga, or the integrity issues faced by both the current and past chief executives, Leung Chun-ying and Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. Not to mention the scandals involving senior figures arising from their regimes.

Sure, Hongkongers want change, and one wish is to have someone lead and guide us - especially during the economic crisis the world is facing.

However, there is no single solution that can help US President Barack Obama in the current fiscal cliff crisis, who wishes he has a magic wand to wave it away into oblivion.

Hongkongers face a similar dilemma, although not as bad as the protest on July 1, 2003, when 500,000 mostly middle- class people took to the streets, leading to the eventual downfall of then-chief executive Tung Chee-hwa.

There are a lot of differences in the recent protests, like those we saw yesterday. It's unclear if people are fed up with the politicking - as some claim - or they just want a harmonious society.

One thing for sure: most of those protesting against Leung belong to the younger generation, while his supporters are mainly older folks. At any rate, the fact that so many senior citizens turned out to support Leung is worth noting. CY and his top officials should treasure this.

Meanwhile, what the protesters want is quite simple - an end to property hegemony and soaring housing prices. This is essential since many citizens, particularly our younger generation, cannot afford to buy a flat these days.

On the political front, some parties are calling for a revamp in policies to defend Hong Kong's core values.

It would be interesting to know what dosage Leung will prescribe for people - especially his supporters - in his forthcoming maiden policy speech, and in the budget the following month.

Nevertheless, I believe 2013 will be a year for cautious optimism.


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